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All In With Chris Hayes, Transcript 10/18/2016

Guests: Jim Messina, Jason Johnson, Katie Packer, Sabrina Siddiqui, Norm Ornstein, Michelle Goldberg

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: October 18, 2016 Guest: Jim Messina, Jason Johnson, Katie Packer, Sabrina Siddiqui, Norm Ornstein, Michelle Goldberg



BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: I`d invite Mr. Trump to stop whining and go and try to make his case to get votes.

ANNOUNCER: On the eve of the final Presidential Debate .

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t believe the polls anymore.

ANNOUNCER: Donald Trump still questioning the legitimacy of American democracy.

TRUMP: They even want to try and rig the election at the polling booths where so many cities are corrupt.

ANNOUNCER: New backlash from the left and the right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is - there`s no evidence behind any of this.

OBAMA: If whenever things are going badly for you and you lose, you start blaming somebody else. Then you don`t have what it takes to be in this job.

ANNOUNCER: Obama`s 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina joins me. Plus, veteran campaign lawyer Ben Ginsberg on what happens if a candidate refuses to concede. Then as Melania Trump stands up for her husband .

MELANIA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP`S WIFE: Did they ever check the background of these women?

ANNOUNCER: Six people come forward to corroborate one allegation of sexual assault. And previewing tomorrow`s debate, and the issue notably absent from the first two showdowns.

TRUMP: Who is going to pay for the wall?


ANNOUNCER: When ALL IN starts right now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from beautiful Las Vegas where the third and final Presidential Debate set to take place tomorrow night here on the campus of UNLV. I`m Chris Hayes. With Election Day now just three weeks away, Donald Trump finds himself in a historically large holes. National polling averages showing Hillary Clinton poised for either a comfortable win or perhaps a landslide victory. New survey finding Clinton holds solid leads in enough states to give her 304 electoral votes. Well clear the 270 she needs to claim victory. And Clinton now with a chance of victory in ostensibly red states no one thought would be close. Polls showing Clinton leading or within striking distance recently in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia and even Texas where Clinton has started running campaign ads. In Colorado today, a state-wide poll showed Trump down about eight points, Trump dismissed the pollsters.


TRUMP: Now, even though we`re doing pretty good in the polls, I don`t believe the polls anymore. I don`t believe them. I don`t believe them. And if there`s 10 and if there`s one or two bad ones, that`s the only one they show. Believe me, folks, we`re doing great.


HAYES: Trump also continues to assist - insist, without any evidence, that the election process itself is fundamentally illegitimate.


TRUMP: But they even want to try and rig the election at the polling booths where so many cities are corrupt, and you see that. And voter fraud is all too common. And then they criticize us for saying that. And we have even republicans, oh, that`s such a terrible thing to say.


HAYES: Indeed, there are republicans pointing out the indisputable fact that it`s pretty much impossible to rig a national election.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: This election is not being rigged. And I`m going to explain to you why it`s not being rigged in Florida, and why I hope he stops saying that, why he should stop saying that. We have 67 counties in the state, each of which conduct their own elections. I promise you, there is not a 67-county conspiracy to rig this election. Second, the governor of the State of Florida is a Republican, who appoints the people that run the division of elections. Third, there`s no evidence behind any of this. And so, this should not continue to be said. And do I believe people should have confidence? Yes.


HAYES: Another prominent republican defending the integrity of American elections. House Speaker Paul Ryan who Trump lashed out at in the interview that aired this morning.


TRUMP: Well, I don`t want to be knocking Paul Ryan. I think he could be more supportive to the republican nominee. We`re doing well. I think we`re going to win the election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think he wants you to win?

TRUMP: Well, maybe not, because maybe he wants to run in four years or maybe he doesn`t know how to win. Maybe he just doesn`t know how to win.


HAYES: There are plenty of republicans embracing Trump`s attempt to undermine American faith in the legitimacy of its democracy. POLITICO reports that many Republican National Committee members agree with Trump, the election is rigged. So does one of the governors backing Trump, Paul Lepage of Maine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you confident that we are going to have a clean election in Maine?

GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R-ME), TRUMP SUPPORTER: No, I am not confident we`re going to have a clean election in Maine. And I`ll tell you why. The left, the Democratic Party, insists on not having I.D.s and will people from the cemetery be voting? Yes, all around the country.


HAYES: That`s not true, just to be clear. No one from the cemetery will be voting. In truth, there are vanishingly few documented examples of in- person voter fraud actually taking place. A comprehensive investigation of voter impersonation between 2000 and 2014 found just 31 credible incidents out of one billion ballots cast. As Wisconsin Representative Mark Pocan pointed out in March, "More people are struck by lightning than commit in- person voter fraud." Despite that fact, Trump is pointing to cities with large African-American populations and urging his supporters people to go to the polling sites to monitor the vote. He`s reportedly hired a controversial republican named Mike Roman to run Trump`s election protection effort. Roman best known for publicizing video from 2008 showing apparent voter intimidation at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008. Footage of Fox News ran over and over and over again, the watcher claims a voter fraud. At an appearance in the Rose Garden today with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, President Obama was asked about Trump`s claims the elections is rigged.


OBAMA: I have never seen in my lifetime or in modern political history any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place. It`s unprecedented. And by the way, doesn`t really show the kind of leadership and toughness that you`d want out of a president. You start whining before the game is even over? If whenever things are going badly for you, and you lose, you start blaming somebody else? Then you don`t have what it takes to be in this job. I`d invite Mr. Trump to stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes.


HAYES: Joining me now, 2012 Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff to President Obama, now consultant. Good to have you here, Jim.


HAYES: What did you think of the president there taking this sort of needling turn on Trump from the Rose Garden podium standing next to the Prime Minister of Italy?

MESSINA: I think it`s Barack Obama at his best, calling balls and strikes where he sees them, and it`s exactly right. Donald Trump is running for President of the United States of America. In 21 days before an election, he`s about to lose, he`s whining like a school kid. He`s saying, "Someone took my Legos away. I want to go home from the playground." It`s unbelievable. And you know, for democrats, Chris, Donald Trump is the gift that keeps on giving. It`s like Christmas every day for this guy. He tweets out, he says things like this. Instead of talking to swing voters, we`re sitting here three weeks before the election. He should be talking to the 8 to 12 percent of Americans who are undecided, and instead, he`s just lighting himself on fire every day on national television.

HAYES: You know, this gift that keeps on giving, I understand in the political context, but it also seems to me, like, he`s doing significant damage. I mean, to the extent that he calls legitimacy of the process into question for the next 21 days. He has a big audience. He`s got about, you know, 25, 30 percent of the electorate really, really devoted to him, who believe what he says. That creates problems whatever happens in the actual outcome of the election.

MESSINA: Yeah, because no matter who wins in this election, you have to govern next year, right? You`ve got to bring a very contentious two-party system in together to try to get some major things done in the next six months. And the problem is if a third of all voters are saying this thing was rigged, we`re not part of this process, how do you bring America together? Al Gore is the best example of this. We`ve never had a more contentious election than the 2000 election.

HAYES: Right.

MESSINA: And when that was over, the next hour after the Supreme Court, he walked out and said, "It`s over. George Bush is president, let`s all come behind him." And democrats went and worked with President Bush to get some stuff done.

HAYES: Yes. No child left behind, which is basically since they`ve repealed, we should note. There`s this question about all these states that we see popping up now, right?

MESSINA: Yup. Right.

HAYES: And I - this is stuff that I know you know extremely well. So, I want to talk to you about it for a second.


HAYES: Texas to me seems like fools gold. I mean, these three, two points, democrats have been talking about Texas forever. If you look at it demographically, it looks sort of like it lines up with Florida, if you squint your eyes, but Texas Latinos have been much more inclined about Republicans, the party has been much more sort of common sense about immigration there. How gettable do you think Texas is?

MESSINA: Well, long-term, Texas is coming to us, right? If you look at the map, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona are all coming. Texas is coming next. But I agree with you, I think it`s hard this election cycle. I think it`s a bridge too far. But look, Donald Trump gives us a historic opportunity in Texas. He`s currently getting 17 percent of the Latino vote. George Bush got 44 and 46 percent of the Latino vote. You start to look at 17 percent and say, Jesus, maybe Texas is real.

HAYES: Georgia now is the - is the one that I`ve been a skeptic for a while. I remember back in 2008, I was down in the Obama campaign office in Georgia when Georgia was sort of a frontier part of the map.

MESSINA: Yup. Yup.

HAYES: And didn`t work out. Georgia is another one of these where you say, "Well, if you just look at the demographics, this should be a state that democrats have a shot at."


HAYES: Now, we`re seeing Georgia - significant polling showing Georgia in play.

MESSINA: Look, I`m co-chair of Hillary Clinton`s super PAC. We went on television today in Georgia. We believe it`s a state we can compete in. We believe long-term, it`s a state that`s moving back to the Democratic Party. You know, lots of people gave me grief when we went after Virginia in 2008. Virginia is now the most swing state in country, and it`s not even a little blue, so much so that Donald Trump pulled out of it last -

HAYES: Virginia is the craziest thing.

MESSINA: That`s exactly right.

HAYES: I think when you look - when you look at - I mean - and there`s this interesting thing part about - think about the map. Josh Barro made this point between the places where democrats seem to have consolidated their advantage or a combination of pretty, good local economies, lots of people mobily moving in and demographics.


HAYES: You look at places like Colorado and Virginia compared to places like Wisconsin where Hillary Clinton sort of underperforming Barack Obama right now. Those seem the tougher states for her to crack.

MESSINA: That`s exactly right. You look at Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, we are moving long term into positions of dominance there whereas we`re struggling in the Midwest. I mean, right now, you look at early votes, Democrats are dominating in Virginia, so much so that Trump just pulled out. The numbers are four points better in North Carolina than they were for Barack Obama. In Florida, we`re off to a very good start, but we are underperforming in Iowa and Ohio in ways that are troubling.

HAYES: Fascinating. All right. Jim Messina, thanks for your time.

MESSINA: My pleasure.

HAYES: All right. Joining me now, republican strategist Katie Packer is deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney`s 2012 presidential campaign, and Morgan State University professor Jason Johnson, politics editor at The Root. You know, Jason, let`s start will this talk about how the -- this is an old trope, right?


HAYES: In some ways Donald Trump sort of bring you to the (INAUDIBLE) this idea that the votes are being rigged in the cities is something that we`ve been hearing for a very long time.

JOHNSON: He`s been saying this for a long time. Of course, it`s racial coding, right? It`s the cities, black people are cheating. And apparently like the black walking dead like dead black people are going to come up -

HAYES: It`s always the dead. It always come back -

JOHNSON: Exactly. That no matter what you do, you hack them in the head, and they keep coming back. So, the problem is this, though, from a - from a political science standpoint, he is hurting himself. We have study after study after study that shows that if voters feel that their votes aren`t counted, if they feel that there`s no integrity to the process, why am I going to wait in line? Why am I going to deal with voter I.D.? So, I think this is really dangerous. And you`ve only got 38 percent of Trump voters who actually feel that their votes are going to be counted. That was a Pew study back in August. He needs to stop this. He needs to focus on getting votes.

HAYES: And now, I think it`s probably - I mean, both, I think at a first order, I think Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio don`t believe the election is being rigged, but I also think in their self-interest, to Jason`s point, there is pretty good data on this that this is a way of actually reducing your own support. If you tell people their vote doesn`t matter, why are they going to go vote?

KATIE PACKER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think that this speak to something that`s even deeper-seated in Donald Trump, which is this real kind of neurosis that he has and this insecurity that he has, that he realizes, I think, now that he`s not going to win. And so, he`s starting to look for excuses, he`s starting to look for scapegoats and this is perfect scapegoat for him, this is a perfect springboard for him post- election to say, "Look, the deck was always stacked against us. Let`s go on and start a revolution." He wants to lead something, he wants to monetize this thing. I`m starting to think that this has very little to do with actual Election Day results.

HAYES: Well - and there`s this sort of declared war now against the Republican Party, right? And today, you know, he rolled out this term limits idea and he`s got -- which, first of all, is a little weird to be like, "Hey, here`s a constitutional amendment 20 days out, that we just sort of whipped up, we thought would be a good idea." But it`s also to me is sort of about positioning himself in the next 30 - in the next 20 days and also afterwards to be sort of essentially the bane of both parties.

JOHNSON: Right. Well, you know, when he launches Trump TV, right? Because we - because we know that`s what this long-term plan might be. And it`s damaging. It`s damaging to not only his chances, it`s damaging to the party, but also, I think this is going to hurt Trump. And maybe he doesn`t care about this to be a kingmaker down the road. Because when you say that all of these are rigged, you`re insulting Rick Scott in Florida, you`re insulting John Kasich in Ohio, you`re basically saying that all these republican governors are in on this vast Scooby-Doo conspiracy to keep me from being elected president, and I don`t think that helps him if he wants have any kind of power and influence going forward.

PACKER: Well, he got LePage to insult himself somehow.

JOHNSON: Right, right. Exactly.

HAYES: Right. Paul LePage can`t vouch for the elections in his own state.

JOHNSON: I can`t control my own states, yes.

HAYES: So, Jim just said this point, you know, we`re talking about - we`re starting to get some of the early data, right? So, we have actual hard votes, right, not statistical samples from polling, but early votes, absentee ballot requests, absentee ballot returns. You know, I keep thinking about even when this race has fluctuated in various ways, one constant has been, whatever you think about Hillary Clinton as a candidate or the Democratic Party, those folks running those ground operations are staffed know of what they`re doing. And you guys were up against them in 2012. I mean, that is something the democrats have gotten quite good at. There doesn`t seem to be anything on the other side. And you kind of wonder, like, in the end, when you`re looking at these sort of statistical bars between the low end and the high end, how much that`s going to factor in down the stretch.

PACKER: Well, that stuff matters when elections are close. It`s probably not going to matter in a state like Virginia, which as Jim said, you know, has moved bluer and bluer with the - with the Trump candidacy. But the RNC is really sort of flying all on their own out there. In 2012, when I was working on the Romney campaign, our campaign was working hand in glove. We were up against the, you know, the toughest campaign operation ever in the Obama re-election campaign, but we worked closely together and, you know, had a - had a pretty darn good operation. This time around, it`s the RNC doing it all on their own and you can`t really do this without a candidate campaign that`s helping you.

HAYES: Now - and one of the things we`ve seen, we`ve seen these senate debates start to happen, right? And the senate balance is - it`s very tight. It`s tight in a bunch of different races, we`ve seen senate question after senate question of -- particularly in blue states sort of how does Pat Toomey and how does Kelly Ayotte, how do they navigate this? They`re probably, Jason, looking at their own internal numbers to make these decisions.

JOHNSON: Yeah, and they`re terrified - they`re terrified. Even in place like - like Strickland is probably going to lose in Ohio, right? But in a place where you need to work together with your party, you got the head of the Trump campaign in Ohio saying, "Yeah, I`m done. I`m done with this - you know, I`m done with state party. I`m done with -

HAYES: They divorce basically in Ohio.


JOHNSON: It`s like - yeah, they divorce in Ohio, you`ve got groups like the New Georgia Project which is a non-partisan group in Georgia, they`ve been registering people like crazy, they`re getting the early votes out, and these senators are saying, "I am being dragged down by this nonsense happening at the national level." And it`s also killing their fund raising, I feel sorry for a lot of these republicans out there who have done a good job, who are representing their states well, and they`re going to be dragged down by the top of the ticket.

HAYES: Do you think ultimately - how much can that change in the next 20 days, the scope of that?

PACKER: Well, I think that -- to the credit of our senate committee and our incumbent senators, we`ve got senators that are running outstanding campaigns. It is very tough to run 15 points ahead of the top of the ticket in a close state. It`s - you know, you can do this if it`s seven or eight points, but some of these senators are really struggling. I do think that if they stay the course that they can hold out.

HAYES: We should note Stuart Stevens loves to note this. So you work with (INAUDIBLE) campaign. Romney outperformed the senate candidates in every state except the one we`re in, where Dean Heller up (INAUDIBLE) four points if I`m not mistaken in 2012. Katie Packer and Jason Johnson, thanks to you both, appreciate it.

Coming up, what if Donald Trump loses the election and doesn`t concede? (INAUDIBLE) just alluding to that possibility -- all too realistic possibility. What we`re talking about after this two-minute break.



OBAMA: I`d invite Mr. Trump to stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes. And if he got the most votes, then it would be my expectation of Hillary Clinton to offer a gracious concession speech and pledge to work with him in order to make sure that the American people benefit from an effective government. And it would be my job to welcome Mr. Trump regardless of what he said about me or my differences with him on my opinions, and escort him over to this capitol in which there would be a peaceful transfer of power.


HAYES: President today delivering a sharp rebuke of Donald Trump`s talk of a rigged election. Amid a real concern out there now that this election won`t end on Election Day. Yes, there are a whole bunch of procedural hurdles ahead ending ultimately and the election results are certified in a joint session of congress next January. But what gives the electoral process legitimacy in a deeper sense, is really when the loser of the election concedes, a tradition honored by nominees of both parties.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The way we see it, the country should see it that the people have spoken, and we respect the majesty of the democratic system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve said repeatedly in this campaign that the president is my opponent, not my enemy, and I wish him well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I pledge to do my part to try to bridge the partisan divide. I know this is a difficult time for my supporters, but I ask them, all of you, to join me in doing that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At a time like this, we can`t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people`s work and we, citizens also have to rise to the occasion.


HAYES: It`s difficult at this point to imagine that if Donald Trump loses, he will actually concede at all, certainly not in the fashion we`ve seen there, not as gracefully as the man who ultimately lost in the most contested election of our lifetime, Vice President Al Gore, who of course won the popular vote in the 2000 election, conceded after the Supreme Court stopped a Florida recount, ruling it unconstitutional by a five-four vote. In his concession, Gore quoted Stephen Douglas. "Partisan feeling must yield to patriotism. I`m with you, Mr. President, and God bless you." Weeks later when congress met to count the electoral votes, Gore in his role as president of the senate, presided over not only the certification of the results, but had to push back on protests from his most ardent supporters on Capitol Hill.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost all of the objections came from members of the congressional Black Caucus in protest of alleged voting irregularities involving minorities, but they were destined to lose because federal law requires at least one senator to sign on to any objection from the house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a sad day in America, Mr. President, when we can`t find a senator to sign these objections -


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The objection is in writing and I don`t care that it is not - it is not signed by a member of the senate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the count went on state by state with the expected outcome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George W. Bush of the State of Texas has received for president of the United States 271 votes. Al Gore of the state of Tennessee has received 266 votes. May God bless our new president and our new vice president and may God bless the United States of America.


HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC Political Analyst Ben Ginsberg, he served as counsel of the Bush/Cheney campaign, played a key role in 2000 Florida recount, you can read about that in many of the accounts down there. I guess - so let`s start with this, right? If you don`t want to concede after an election, what are your options from a sort of legal standpoint, right? If you say - if you say I am convinced this was rigged in numerous states, my supporters think it`s rigged, and my staff think it`s rigged, and I`m going to hire a lawyer that will do my bidding, what do you do?

BEN GINSBERG, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, those moments we saw were amongst the most of important of our country in terms of the transfer of power and what our institutions have to do. But if you`re a candidate who doesn`t like it, each state has a procedure where you go through the canvassing of the vote and recounting of the vote potentially the actual contesting of the vote. So, each state has its own procedures for what to do.

HAYES: If you`re litigation minded, I mean, presumably you could string a bunch of stuff out in litigation for a very long time and create even if the numbers aren`t in your favor or even if they`re overwhelmingly not in your favor, I guess some sort of --

GINSBERG: Oh, you know, one of the impacts of Bush versus Gore and the fact that that did stretch on and really push the electoral college deadline is that a lot of states put in specific timetables so this does get dealt with in one, two, three weeks after the election in time to meet the December 19th, deadline of when the electors all meet in the various state capitols.

HAYES: So how important is this sort of basic idea of legitimacy to all of these, right. There`s a law on one hand, right, and then there`s a sort of deeper cultural sense of what an election means and how democracy sort of depends on a basically consensus agreement in the legitimacy of the process.

GINSBERG: Yeah, it is a compact amongst all the people and one of the - one of the foundational elements of what we do as a country is that you win an election or you lose an election. Sometimes elections are really, really close and people get passionate about it. That was certainly Bush versus Gore in Florida, but at the end of the day, the institutions of government -

HAYES: You see me biting my tongue.

GINSBERG: I did, I did and I appreciate it. I wanted to put you in that position.

HAYES: Yeah. Well, I mean, that is actually a great example, right, Bush v Gore, because there`s a lot of people who felt that they should have contested it longer, right? And one of the weird things about watching the Trump phenomenon happen is, it`s -- all of a sudden, I think, you go along sort of taking certain parts of the institutional framework of American democracy for granted, but all of a sudden it sort of have been thrown into relief this year. I mean, do you feel that watching this happen?

GINSBERG: Well, this is certainly a different kind of election, but again, the system that we were just talking about, does have elements of proof in it at various points. Now, we`re in the rhetorical stage before the elections, but if you do want to contest an election after, there are proof points.

HAYES: Right.


GINSBERG: If there`s really rigging with an election, you got to be able to prove it.

HAYES: Right, right. And so, when the numbers come in -- and I also think the other - the other thing I keep thinking about is this sort of social pressure. We remember this sort of famous moment when they walked down to the White House to tell Nixon he was sort of done, you can imagine - I would imagine there wouldn`t be a broad buy-in in the Republican Party for some sort of wildly contested claim, should Trump not have the sort of substantive argument.

GINSBERG: Yeah, look, I think you`ve seen many leaders of the party say that our elections are not rigged in the past few days. In fact of the 15 closest states right now, more or less, 11 of them have Republican Secretaries of State, so that the responsibility for counting the votes while there`s a check and balance system in every state really rests with republican elected officials.

HAYES: All right, Ben Ginsburg, thanks for your time.

GINSBERG: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Still ahead, as both Donald Trump and Melania Trump rebut the allegations of sexual assault made by a former writer for People, the magazine reels six other people who corroborate her story. What they said, after the break.



MELANIA TRUMP, WIFE OF DONALD TRUMP: The story that came out in "People" magazine, the writer, that she said that my husband took her to the room and start kissing her. She wrote in the same story about me that she saw me on Fifth Avenue and I said to her, "Natasha, how come we don`t see you anymore?" I was never friendly to her. I would not recognize her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That never happened?

M. TRUMP: It never happened.


HAYES: Among the at least nine women who have come forward to accuse Donald Trump of unwanted physical contact, there`s Natasha Stoynoff, a one- time writer for "People" magazine. She published her first-hand account last week of what she described as being physically attacked by Trump while working on a profile of him and his new wife for the magazine back in 2005. Trump strongly denies all the allegations against him, including Stoynoff`s and none have been verified to NBC news. In the piece, Stoynoff recalls bumping into Melania months later on Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower, and she walked into the building carrying baby Barron, quote, "Natasha, why don`t we see you anymore?" she asked giving me a hug, that prompted Melania`s lawyers to demand a retraction and an apology, not for the assault allegations contained in the piece, but for that part about that warm interaction. Now, the magazine says it has a witness, a friend of Stoynoff`s, who says she was with her during that chance meeting in New York. According to Lisa Herz, quote, "They chatted in a friendly way and what struck me most was that Melania was carrying a child wearing heels." Herz is one of six individuals "People" magazine has put forward to corroborate Natasha Stoynoff`s account. Colleagues, close friends, who say, she told them about Trump`s alleged aggression right after the incident contemporaneously. And most of them state one main reason Stoynoff`s says she chose not to go public, fear of retaliation by Trump. Paul McLaughlin, her former journalism professor tweeted last week, "It was a tough decision but in a he said, she said, we believe she would lose. He seemed rather nasty at the time." Apparently, not much has changed since then, in the week since Stoynoff came forward, Donald Trump has repeatedly vilified her in public even suggesting she wasn`t attractive enough to assault.


TRUMP: Take a look, you take a look, look at her, look at her words, you tell me, what do you think? I don`t think so. I don`t think so.


HAYES: Now Trump says his former butler who Stoynoff claimed walked in on them during the unwanted encounter is refuting her story.


TRUMP: She said the butler, so the butler`s a good guy who, you know, left, retired a long time ago. And he came back and he said, that never took place. That`s horrible. That never took place.


HAYES: You may recall that Trump`s former Butler was investigated by the Secret Service several months ago after it emerged he had made multiple Facebook posts calling for President Obama to be executed and describing the president and first lady in openly racist terms.

For many survivors it`s been deeply painful to watch the way Trump and his campaign responded to these allegations and Trump`s own words caught on that Access Hollywood bus. How Trump is resurfacing someone`s traumatic experiences next.


HAYES: The weekend after the release of the now infamous Trump tape on which the GOP nominee boasts about kissing and groping women without their consent, traffic to the rape, abuse and incest national network was up 45 percent, according to Slate`s Michelle Goldberg. Calls to the group`s national sexual assault hotline were up 33 percent. And just a few hours after author Kelly Oxford asked women on Twitter to tweet about their first assault, another response to the Trump video. She says a million women shared their experiences.

Slate columnist Michelle Goldberg who wrote about all this joins me now. Michelle, I thought your piece put -- sort of articulated something that I`ve been encountering in discussion after discussion that that I`ve had with women particularly over the last two weeks which is what you call essentially triggering, the sort of triggering effect of watching both the tape and the accusations play out.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, SLATE: It`s just a really remarkable phenomenon. And you know I hate to use the word "triggering" because it`s a very overused buzzword but in this case I think that there`s really no other term for it. People all across the countrty, famous people, politicians and also just, you know, ordinary people talking to their friends talking on social media are saying that over the last week and a half all sorts of memories, memories that they either sort of half forgotten or thought no longer bothered them have been coming to the surface in this really devastating way.

And it`s one of the reasons that I think that a lot of women, you know, even though in some ways Trump is an ideal opponent for Hillary Clinton for people who sdon`t want to see Republicans in power, this isn`t a lot of fun, these last few weeks, for liberals and particularly for feminists. I mean, it`s really showing a sort of ugly underbelly of our society and our culture especially when you consider that no matter what happens it seems very likely that a majority of men are going to end up voting for Donald Trump.

HAYES: Yeah, and we then end up in the situation and part of what we`re seeing happen, right, is that women who have come forward. Obviously they`re being contested by the Trump campaign, they`re attempting to knock these down.

I should say this has happened in the past, it happened with women that accused Bill Clinton of either sexual impropriety or actual sexual assault. It is the sort of defense posture that we seen when women come forward. And it`s playing out on the biggest stage imaginable, in some ways confirming precisely the reason that so many don`t.

GOLDBERG: Right. I mean, you have this astonishing thing that Melania Trump, for example, said during her interview, which is somebody should investigate these women`s backgrounds and also why didn`t they come forward earlier?

You know, you hear something similar from other Trump surrogates. These women are too ugly to attack and why didn`t they want to come forward? Because they knew what was in store for them.

There is nothing to be gained for any of these women, right? There`s no book deals to be won of the classroom full of women who say that Donald Trump groped you at one point in your life. There`s kind of nothing in it, I think, except for the fact that these women have heard him deny something that they know for a fact happened, which is also part of what so many women find so painful about these last days of the campaign. It`s just the blatant, shameless denial. You know, what people in abuse circles call gaslighting. This just refuse -- this shameless denial of a reality that`s in front of all our faces.

HAYES: You mentioned the Melania Trump interview last night and she did one this morning as well. I have to say from my perspective it just seems -- it seems sort of impossible to judge her in any way in the position she`s in. It just seems like from her perspective, she believes her husband and I don`t fault her for that and she`s also in a totally impossible situation.

GOLDBERG: You know, Melania Trump -- I mean, what I would say about Melania Trump is that she seems very much like someone who would be married to Donald Trump.

HAYES: That seems true tautological.

Michelle Goldberg, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Ahead of the final debate, news that Donald Trump has invited President Obama`s half-brother to attend? What we can expect from tomorrow night and the huge campaign issue that`s yet to come up.

But first tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts right after this break.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, there are campaign surrogates and then there`s Senator Elizabeth Warren. Outside of the Obama family, she`s easily the Clinton team`s most powerful weapon. And Sunday in Denver she was squarely aiming her fire at Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: I never thought I would see a nominee who would attack his victims who came forward saying they were too ugly to have been the objects of his assault.

You know, I want to say this, some people say it makes them sick to hear Donald Trump talk like that. Well, not me. Donald Trump`s words don`t make me sick anymore, they make me furious. We`re here tonight to double down that Donald Trump will never be president of the United States. Yes.


HAYES: Warren is so good at channeling Democratic fury at Donald Trump there was disappointment she wasn`t put on the ticket as Hillary Clinton`s running mate where she could regularly play that role quite prominently. But it turns out, Elizabeth Warren may soon have the chance to face her very own version of Donald Trump in her very own senate race. Elizabeth Warren versus Curt Schilling? That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES: Senator Warren seems to relish going after Donald Trump. And soon she may have a mini-Trump nipping at her heels. Former baseball player Curt Schilling, who says he has decided maybe to run against her for the U.S. Senate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much close are are you to making a decision about running against Elizabeth Warren?



SCHILLING: I`m going to run.

But I haven`t talked to Shonda, my wife, and ultimately it is going to come down to how her and I feel this would affect our marriage and our kids.


HAYES: You should talk to your wife first.

Curt Schilling, baseball star, turned failed video game entrepreneur turned right wing Twitter troll who most recently was one of those who fell for the made-up story about a postal worker destroying Trump absantee ballots, which we featured in yesterday`s Thing One, Thing Two.

Good old post office. I think this is a federal offense, too, he tweeted.

Schilling helped the Boston Red Sox win the world series in 2004, but he`s not exactly beloved there or, well, anywhere else for that matter. In 2006, he was GQ`s in the 10 most hated athletes. And in April of this year, Schilling was fired from ESPN after posting an offensive remark on social media about transgender folks using the bathroom.

And yet it appears that Schilling has been thinking about getting into politics for some time now. Back in July, Dan Patrick even ribbed him about getting snubbed for a speaker role at Trump`s RNC.


DAN PATRICK, ESPN: When they went Scott Baio that had to hurt you a little bit.

SCHILLING: I feel like I know what I`m talking about. I`m informed. I`m well read. I try to understand. He`s very much the same way. He`s not some actor just riffing like Susan Sarandon or some other dunce who`s saying you know, save the whales.


HAYES: And now Schilling says he`s not afraid to take on Elizabeth Warren.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You feel you could head to head with Dame Elizabeth Warren?

SCHILLING: I don`t know about going -- I`m not worried. It doesn`t scare me. Listen, I was a part of the team that came back and beat the Indians down three games to one. I`ve beaten the real ones before, so I`m not worried about that.


HAYES: No, those aren`t the real -- nevermind.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is up for re-election in 2018, so Curt Schilling has a couple of years at least to get his game in shape.


HAYES: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have both arrived here in Las Vegas for the third and final general election debate tomorrow. It might be Trump`s last best chance to turn things around.

He`s trailing Hillary Clinton across a slew of national polls by an average of nearly 7 percentage points. A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that only 14 percent voters said the presidential debates made them more likely to support Trump compared to 31 percent who said it made them more likely to back Clinton.

So, how are the candidates getting ready for the final showdown? Hillary Clinton has spent five days, which is a long time, preparing for tomorrow`s debate. NBC News learned Trump did squeeze in some debate prep today backstage before his event in Colorado Springs and during a 35 minute flight. But he`s mainly spent his time on the trail escalating his attack on Clinton including his recent call for a predebate drug test.


TRUMP: Athletes, they make them take a drug test, right? I think we should take a drug test prior to the debate. I do. I think we should -- why don`t we do that? We should take a drug test because I don`t know what`s going on with her.


HAYES: When we come back we`ll look at the candidates` strategies, particularly with the first time ver a Fox News anchor moderating a general election presidential debate.



TRUMP: She`s doing debate prep. Sort of funny, she`s been doing this for 30 years. Now she has to do debate prep for five days. You know what the debate prep is? It`s resting. It`s lying down, going to sleep.


HAYES: Joining me now, Norm Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and contributing editor for The Atlantic and Sabrina Siddiqui, political reporter for The Guardian, both here for the final debate.

Can we take a moment to recognize. I think this is the 23rd debate that we`ve had in this election season. So, we`re coming to the close of something that`s been really quite something.

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, THE GUARDIAN: Remember when they were going to shorten the calendar and have less debates?

HAYES: Well, they did in the primary season. That`s the crazy thing, in 2012 they had so many, and they actually did manage to cut back a bunch this year, but it just seems like we certainly had a lot of these.

SIDDIQUI: Right. Well, I think that the thing about tomorrow night is that at this point we really don`t know what to expect from Donald Trump. As we`ve seen, regardless of the issues that they`re supposed to discuss on any given night, he`s more being pulled into doubling down on his base and settling scores by bringing guests just to try and rattle his opponent. First it was by bringing Bill`s accusers to the last debate, now he`s bringing President Obama`s Kenyan-born half-brother.

For him, I think at this point it really has to do with trying to frame the contours of this race as being fixed and just hitting back at the people who have been criticizing.

HAYES: Yeah. It would be very interesting to see, Norm, how much you get this sort of rigged talk, how much you get this kind of -- the fix is in talk during the actual debate.

NORM ORNSTEIN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Yeah, I think we will probably get a little bit of that as a Jill Stein supporter is going crazy behind us, one of three in the state, I think.

You know, it`s going to be all about optics, I think, with this debate. And we will have -- I think Chris Wallace is going to try to bring it to issues to some degree. But what Sabrina said is absolutely right, Trump found the Obama who actually was born in Kenya and is bringing him. And that just tells you how frivolous this has become.

And this is 23, thank god there`s not a 24th.

HAYES: That`s the other thing. I mean, right, so there`s a few things here. One is that -- the big issue that I think has not been debated, weirdly, is immigration. Right, so that`s on the -- and I really want to see that.

SIDDIQUI: And climate change.

HAYES: And climate change, right. But climate change, I mean, climate change -- the people who care about climate, such as myself, are so used to no one talking about it. Immigration has been front and center. That is the one thing that I do think there`s ground for a substantive good lengthy exchange for these candidates given how central it`s been in the campaign.

SIDDIQUI: Especially since that`s the basis upon which Donald Trump really framed his entire candidacy, you know, the idea that we have to build a wall and restrict our borders and basically change the way that we see ourselves in terms of our history as a nation of immigrants. And it`s been remarkable that it hasn`t come up before.

I also think, though, that because in recent weeks he`s essentially doubled down on his base and that restrictionist, you know, theme of his entire candidacy, you remember just several several weeks ago he was supposed to make this pivot, or a couple of months ago, you know, maybe announce some sort of proposal that he was open to doing something about undocumented immigrants. He was trying to soften his tone while he was appealing to these moderate and suburban voters he`s struggled with. That completely disappeared. That never happened.

And that`s all the more reason why it should be debated so he doesn`t get away with this notion that he`s changed.

ORNSTEIN: There`s another reason for this. And, you know, we saw it with the discussion in the last debate about health care, you cannot have a lengthy, substantive debate about an issue with Donald Trump. He doesn`t know anything about these issues.

And once you get past the, we`re going to build the wall, we`re going to strengthen the border patrol, we`re going to find a way to get them out of here and maybe we won`t do it all at once, there`s nothing there.

So, Clinton`s got detailed and nuanced ideas about these things. And it makes the role of the moderator I think even that much more difficult.

HAYES: Well, and that`s -- the sort of two different ways to think about this. So, when you think about the first debate, Clinton went out, she started with the strategy of attempting to bait him. It worked. She kept doing it. She destroyed him.

In the second debate he came out with that crazy press conference. He was extremely aggressive. She seemed a little taken aback, but she sort of held her ground. Polls showed her winning the debate, but he sort of was able to kind of consolidate his base.

And to your point here, his fluctuation in the polls, really is what percentage of Republicans are supporting him is it 78 percent or 94 percent. And where he can go up is with that which is why I think we`ll see more of the same.

SIDDIQUI: I also think that you`re also getting clues -- again, it goes back to bringing the president`s half-brother. He`s also bringing a woman who lost her son in Benghazi. So, clearly, Donald Trump is not arriving at this debate at least you know operating under some kind of of pretense that he`s going to engage in substantive discussion. He wants to again try and rattle Hillary Clinton. And he is, you know, as Norm said, not capable of having a policy debate.

I think that the thing is that one has changed is you`ve seen more and more Republicans pull away from his candidacy, and you`ve seen an absolute plummet since that second encounter they had in terms of his standing in the polls. So, it`s not even clear how much this one debate will change the trajectory of the race. If anything, just put him on that path toward continuing to lose more and more support.

ORNSTEIN: He is now all about settling scores, too. There may be a strategic element of trying to increase the number of base voters going for him, but my guess is he will bring up Paul Ryan and if he doesn`t, Chris Wallace or Hillary Clinton will. Bringing Obama`s half-brother has nothing to do with Clinton, it`s to settle a score with Obama who is going after him.

He is furious with all kinds of people, including the women who have made charges against him. And if I were Clinton, I would try to focus on bringing the country together, the stronger together theme and even talk a little bit about what you should do as president in terms of your agenda and your priorities and make that the contrast.

Hard to do.

HAYES: Yeah, although it`s going to be -- one of the things we know about him is it`s going to be a lot of -- and this is a challenge for him. Even when he has a decent case to make or to prosecute, right, he has a hard time getting his audience up to speed because he`s so deep in the weeds of sort of like Breitbart articles. So, if he is going to go on whatever in the classification battle happening between the State and FBI, he has to explain that before he can actually make that work.

SIDDIQUI: He not only has to explain that, but he still operates in conspiracy theories. So, he`s not only unable to capitalize on these leaked emails because his own campaign is imploding, but also because he`s just making up the contents of these emails by saying there`s collusion between the FBI and the Clinton campaign on emails, but there was not.

You know, just by saying oh they actually did see they acknowledged mistakes in Benghazi, that we`ve been talking about this whole time, there`s a smoking gun, there is not.

You know, he`s just not capable of acually presenting a real case and litigating what has come out in these Podesta emails.

HAYES: There`s going to be a huge sigh of relief I think from everyone after this debate is over. Sabrina Siddiqui, and Norm Ornstein, thank you very much.

That is all in for this evening. We`ll be back tomorrow live at 6:00 p.m. eastern as part of MSNBC`s all-day coverage leading up to the debate, which you will be able to watch live right here at 9:00 p.m.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.